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Thread Please help! Mac or PC?

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thesparrowband

thesparrowband

137 posts
AFfinity Poster
First post
1 Posted on 09/18/2005 at 19:36:13
I am trying to accomplish the same feat. I need a laptop because my studio isn't big enough to hold a drum set. I have an external sound card (a Tascam US428) and keyboards that need to interface with my computer. I know alot about computers in general and have been fighting with myself over what kind of laptop I should get. The main conflict being: Mac or PC? My price range is anywere under $1800.

These are some of the computers I found to do the job:

Apple Powerbook 15": Either a 1.5Ghz G4 or a 1.67Ghz G4. A 17" would work too, but its too expensive.
>1GB of DDR RAM, Tiger, Superdrive, iLife. I will probably try to run Logic on it or Cubase LE.

HP Pavillion ZD8000: Customizing this laptop would be cheaper than the powerbook.
specs: 3Ghz Pentium 4 processor w/ HT tech. (Hyper Threading just means that the computer has a FSB speed of 800mhz, but I'll explain that later) 256MB Dedicated Graphics card. Windows XP or Media Center Edition 2005 (does anyone know any problems with that?). >1GB of DDR2 Dual Channel RAM (2 identical sticks). DVD burner. 60GB 5400 RPM HD. Running some version of Cubase

Dell Inspiron 6000(15") or 9300(17"): These notebooks have Pentium M processors, which I am unsure about. I would get somewhere around 1.6Ghz, but I am concerned about their power. They have 533 Mhz FSBs. I would get either Windows XP or Media Center. 128MB dedicated graphics. DVD Burner. The slowest HD they have so I could replace it (get to it later). These computers have outstanding battery life. Running some version of Cubase.

OK... Pros for the powerbook are: It has great batterylife, its light. It will work right out of the box. It runs Logic (great program). Its all around good at everything. I'd say its about the same functionality in everything it does (although, I dont think its as good at audio recording as a PC designed for audio would be)
Cons: Its expensive. Its not as good as a PC that throws itself towards one particular task.
It has a slow HD (a 7200rpm, 8.9ms acesstime, 8MB cache HD is reccomened for using synth programs)
It doesn't have dual channel ram. Its FSB is only 167Mhz (Though I dont know how many bits wide it is)


PC Pros: It can be customized for a certian uses. Its cheaper. You can put a very fast HD in. It can have dual channel ram and an incredibly fast 800mhz FSB (dont know how many bits wide)
Cons: Its heavy (10LBS for the HP!), its battery life might suck. It can't be good at everything. (One of the things I wanted to use the laptop for was video editing also) You have to streamline the OS to make it good, and not slow.


I havn't decided which to go for yet. Any help would be much appreciated.


Definitions:Dual Channel RAM- This means that you need two identical sticks of ram (the same size) in each slot. The way RAM works is kind of similar to how a strobe light works. Since it is static memory, it accesses the RAM very quickly, taking small amounts of info. The RAM goes on and off, flickering. The way dual channel works is that while one stick of RAM is on, the other is off, and while the other is off, one is on. So the RAM is constantly being accessed, leading to about a 175% increase in processing speed (depending on the computer). When dealing with synths, this is very useful, because synths are loaded into RAM. Dual Channel only works with DDR2 RAM, not DDR.

FSB (Front Side Bus)- This is the part of the processor that communicates with the RAM. You have to match the RAM to the FSB speed to have any actual increase in speed. For instance, RAM comes in several speeds: 333Mhz, 400Mhz, and sometimes 533Mhz. If you have a processor capeable of Dual Channel capeability, that means the speed of RAM is doubled. 2 400mhz sticks become a total of 800Mhz. If you have a 533Mhz FSB, this is over taxing the FSB, and the extra money you spent for dual channel was wasted. So match the speeds, Mhz to Mhz. Dell pulls a scam where they have a 533Mhz FSB and offer dual channel DDR2 400Mhz RAM. This offers no real increase in speed.

A Fast Hard Drive (HD)- Your HD is often never fast enough to bring data into RAM fast enought to outrun the processor, so you are constantly trying to get the fastest HD possible. The spindle rate (RPM) is reccomened at 7200 RPM. The access time is reccommened to be 8.9ms. And the HD buffer is reccomened 8MB. No notebook comes with these specs, so you often have to rip out the HD and replace it with a faster one. This is not impossible to do with notebooks. Cnet offers a great step by step guide http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-10163_7-5506183-1.html?tag=fs for replacing the drive. The other option for the not so tech savy is to use external HDs. I dont know how the access time is effected by this, Maybe somebody knows?
thesparrowband

thesparrowband

137 posts
AFfinity Poster
2 Posted on 09/25/2005 at 17:17:59
Well, I ended up buying an Apple Powerbook. I found it on ebay for $1500, and I considered it a steal. Here's what I got:

May 2005 powerbook 15" screen
1.5ghz
1GB of RAM
Superdrive
Backlit Keyboard
OS 10.4.2 Tiger
Apple iLife
3 Year Apple Care.


For this price, I figured to go for it, but getting all of the programs off of my old computer is difficault. Does anybody know how transfer licenses?? I'm hoping that you just uninstall the program and that will be a done deal.
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